New York’s Governor Hochul Commits $9.5 Million to Advance Decarbonization in the State

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by | Oct 18, 2021

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced $9.5 million to establish the Empire Technology Prize program, an new corporate challenge aimed at advancing building decarbonization across New York State. The funding will support a qualified program administrator to manage the program and provide seed money for the competition, which will attract, incorporate, and scale building climate solutions from around the world to achieve carbon-neutrality in existing multifamily buildings at least eight stories high or commercial buildings at least 15 stories high. This announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) nation-leading goal calling for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Empire Technology Prize program is designed to be both a business accelerator and a prize program by combining business support with monetary awards to advance low carbon retrofit approaches.

NYSERDA is currently accepting applications for the program administrator who will be awarded up to $1.7 million through 2024 to engage industry partners in a competitive corporate challenge to facilitate the deployment of carbon emission reducing technologies. NYSERDA is dedicating an additional $7.8 million for prizes under the program, with the program administrator expected to grow the prize pool by leveraging private sector partnerships and investments.

NYSERDA will accept applications through November 17, 2021 from qualified single organizations or teams of organizations to be the program administrator, co-develop and manage the Empire Technology Prize program. A scoring committee will evaluate the proposals based on the applicant’s past track record of creating successful corporate challenges with activities including global recruitment, industry-focused convening, business acceleration support, strategic partnership facilitation, and leveraging private dollars. The prize program itself will launch in 2022.

This program builds on the market insight gathered through the successful Empire Building Challenge, announced in September 2020, a public-private partnership to spur economic growth in New York through solutions to decarbonize tall commercial and multifamily buildings in conjunction with some of the world’s largest real estate holders, manufacturers, technology experts, and entrepreneurs.

Buildings are responsible for one third of the economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and many of the more than six million buildings across the State were constructed before the energy code and are not designed to be energy efficient. Through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings across the State. By improving energy efficiency in buildings and including onsite storage, renewables, and electric vehicle charging equipment, the State will reduce carbon pollution and achieve the ambitious target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion Btus by 2025. Energy efficiency accounts for 75% of the clean energy jobs across New York and the state’s ambitious plan to reduce carbon pollution will result in an additional $1.8 billion in societal and environmental benefits.

The Empire Technology Prize program is supported through NYSERDA’s Innovation program which helps early-stage companies with technical assistance and business development resources through entrepreneurial support, and manufacturing scale-up. NYSERDA has invested more than $28 million in entrepreneurial support programs since 2009, supporting nearly 349 companies and generating more than 1,140 jobs. More than $780 million in private investments and $200 million in project finance capital have been leveraged while helping bring more than 440 new and improved clean energy products to market, including LED lighting systems, home appliances, longer-lasting batteries, and more efficient heating-and-cooling systems.

Funding for this initiative is through the State’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund.

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